Amanda Leduc is the author of The Miracles of Ordinary Men, a frequent blogger on writing and reading, and one half of the inventive team that dreamed up Bare it for Books -- a calendar of twelve nearly nude Canadian writers, in support of PEN Canada. Today, she reveals her love of Project Bookmark Canada and tells you why you should shed $20 and become a Page Turner. If you join Amanda today, you'll be eligible to win a copy of her novel. You'll also get a chance to uncover the stories in our landscape. 

Where The Magic Happens

I will say it again, though doubtless others have said it before me: Prince Edward Island is magical because of Anne Shirley. It is of course magical and special for a whole host of other reasons, but as a booklover, it’s Anne’s home to me first and foremost. The first time I stepped onto PEI soil, I understood what it meant to write a story that has a lasting mark on the land around it. Because of Anne, books were no longer just books to me. They were doors that opened—to places imagined, yes, but also to places that were real.

That discovery continued through all the years that followed, and it continues, for me, every time I pick up a book and see it reference a place that I know. The Bloor Street Viaduct? I’ve been there, and I get to go there again each time I open In the Skin of a Lion. When I read John Terpstra’s "Giants", I think of Hamilton’s Sam Lawrence park. There’s something magical about knowing that we can connect with each other in this kind of way. A shared network of the real and the imaginary—the physical and the idea, the concrete and the pretend.

As a writer and a reader, it’s this kind of connection that keeps me combing our nation’s stories for more. When I look for places for my own stories, in the process I inevitably encounter the real people and settings that make our stories, and our books, exactly what they are. The readers. The writers. The real places and tales that make their way into our fictions and poems. It was, ultimately, my love for Canadian books and the landscapes that they represent that put me in touch with so many of the writers and readers I know today. (Like Allegra Young, my Bare it For Books partner in crime!)

We are connected as a country because of the stories we tell, which are themselves connected in so many ways to the landscape that holds us. And so—what better way to celebrate these stories than by bringing the stories and the landscape together? As a PageTurner, you are helping to do just that. Your donation can help Project Bookmark find another marker for a literary setting that we all know and love—and perhaps even for a setting that we don’t know about yet. There are, after all, so many books being born in this country!

Prince Edward Island isn’t the only magical setting in this beautiful literary country of ours. There are many, many more. Have a peek at some of the other locations that Bookmark has already celebrated, and become a PageTurner! I do it because I know that the imagined landscape is every bit as powerful as the real one.

We are surrounded by stories here. A Bookmark is just one more step in bringing these stories to life. 

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